meddling is not love

To meddle is ": to interest oneself in what is not one's concern : interfere without right or propriety." It comes from a Latin word that means to mix. (Websters) Meddlers mix in where they ought not to.

A busybody is, "a person who meddles in the affairs of others." (Websters)

What is insidious is that we shroud our meddling in love or pride. We say we're, "only trying to help", and justify our meddling. And the whole deal with pride is that we think we're God; which we're not.

The man in the Old Testament Bible who has a long book named after him, Job, had someone like this in his life named Bildad. In Hebrew, Bildad means "confusing (by mingling) love". This guy had just been unhelpful to Job and this is what Job said back:

Job answered: "How long are you going to keep battering away at me,
pounding me with these harangues?
Time after time after time you jump all over me.
Do you have no conscience, abusing me like this?
Even if I have, somehow or other, gotten off the track,
what business is that of yours?
Why do you insist on putting me down,
using my troubles as a stick to beat me?

Job 19:1-4

It's notable that Job says that Bildad's words were abusive, they battered and pounded him. He felt jumped, put down and beaten. Job says that even if he is off track or in error as the NIV puts it, it's nobody else's business. Meddlers and busybodies make other people's business there own business. The word to these people is "get a life". Pray in private for the other you're concerned about and seek to gain God's perspective.

Faithful

...a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.

Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20)

I thought of this verse this morning and was reminded of God's faithfulness- "Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see..." God is not abusive or harsh with people who have lost hope, but He is faithful and just. He knows the pain and cares. When things feel the most hopeless or look the most impossible or sound awful, God is there and powerful to change things.

God's timetable is often different than our plans. God's ways often don't make sense and aren't logical to us. God isn't logical, Mr or Mrs Spock, but travels outside of logic. One thing God always is that we can always understand, is that God is good.

People who know God is good are people who have been rescued by God or set free by God from something. These people will tell you, "God has been good to me". If you can not say this, perhaps you have never experienced God's intervention in your life or you have forgotten it. What's it like to be a "believer", a "church-goer", but not to have a testimony? I would say that for those, there is something missing.

Perhaps, right now, you are at wit's end, rope's end; even on the edge. Maybe you need saving. You are so focused on the quicksand around you that you can't bring to mind that God is good or mighty to save. That is ok. The thing about getting rescued is that it's something that we don't do for ourselves, but is done to us.

My point here is to repeat the fact that God cares about the people in the weakest circumstances. It is written in the scriptures that God cares and God is good and full of faithfulness and justice. This is true reality.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

On this day, November 18th, in 1861. The words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic came to Julia Ward Howe in a dream. The was an abolitionist and worked for women's suffrage. She lived to be 91 years old. She lost her mom when she was only five.


In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.

The enduring love of God

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

The Lord's love goes on and on and on... It never stops. Nothing stops it. God loves you and me the same no matter what. Something to consider if you are going through a hard time. God loves you the same as he does when good times are upon you. Bad times, sickness, defeat, brokenness of all kinds, or failure; the list is endless. None of these stop God's love or are a sign of his lack of love.
God is called "the Lord" because he is Lord of all, whether acknowledged or not. He is also Lord over every circumstance. Even if the negative thing is not changing for the better, God is still Lord over it and the person(s) in the midst of it can reach out to God in it.

dreams come true

"When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme."
-Jiminy Cricket

Do dreams come true? I think they do, if they're from God. All dreams are not from God, but the ones that are from God are invitations to coming true, that is if they are 'promise' dreams. On the other hand, 'warning' dreams do not have to come true, but will if the warning is not heeded. I think the third category of dreams from God are revelatory, showing you heaven's perspective.

The paradox of brokeness in the Christfollower

I read a man's testimony the other day. God intervened in his life in 1985 and turned him away from suicide and gave him new life. Unfortunately, this man has had many troubles over the past 24 years; including losing his marriage, but he still loves the Lord and seeks to follow him. He freely mentions the divorce and many other failures as part of his (ongoing) testimony. God saved this man and the man started walking with God, but it wasn't finished there.

Have faith in God

And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God.
Mark 11:22

We should have faith in God- depend on, believe in, rely on, trust in, look to, ask of, walk in the ways of, be one with.

This is over-and-above or trumps- faith in ourselves: our abilities, gifts, personal power, or ingenuity.
-faith in others.
-faith in circumstances.
-faith in faith.

Trampoline

Our past is jumping place towards our future and not a bed or a cloak.
The past is our point of departure towards our future.

The cycle of tens and transition

Ten years ago it was 1999. I think it's interesting or instructive to reflect on this past 10 year season.
The last year of one cycle and the first year of the next cycle are transition years. We're right in the middle of transition. 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 are Hebrew years 5740, 5750, 5760, and 5770.

What pleases God


"If it pleases the King, may I....."
Nehemiah 2:7

How often do we approach God and approach life with the question, "does this please God", or "what is your pleasure", towards God? We pray to get out of things, to get things, to find things; all for our pleasure. The Bible does teach that God does want to bestow good onto His children and we thank God for all things. But sometimes what is missing in us is that we neglect to live our lives worshipfuly, under God's Kingship, reverentially asking God what He wants or what would please Him the most in a situation.

Where's the variety in the church?


Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
I Corinthians 12:4

There are 9 spiritual gifts mentioned in the Corinthian letters and perhaps the healing gift itself can be multi-faceted, because Paul uses the language "gifts of healings" in 1 Corinthians 12:30 (NASB). But in how many churches or gatherings of believers do we get to experience a variety of spiritual gifts functioning in the people? How much fun would it be if many different kinds of gifts of the Spirit were allowed to be expressed in meetings?

Notes from Todd Hunter's talk on church

Todd Hunter gave a talk on, "The Church I Would Build", at the 1999 AVC pastor's conference: (these are notes of notes, edited for brevity).

On a personal note, I was privileged to walk beside Todd on our Journey's, 20 years ago; when we went on a ministry trip to New Zealand and Australia, with Todd leading our team.





Karl Barth: "Being the church for the sake of the world". (Todd) And my way of describing this phrase is, "God's missional communities".

From Miroslav Volf, "After Our Likeness":
No church without the reign of God.
No reign of God without the church.

(Todd) I would want a church that doesn't "dumb down" our faith, and that repeatedly tells our distinctive Christian story. We must remember that the church is a peculiar people that defines itself by an entirely different set of assumptions than those of the world. We need to realize that we are not helping seekers when we try to explain the Way of Christ in language that is primarily therapeutic or managerial.

One of the reasons we are increasingly without a voice in our culture is because we have "dumbed down" Christianity to a ludicrous level.

Is man seeking God or God seeking man? Perhaps man is hiding, pretending to seek God, but is really looking for a safe and predictable "god". And maybe as we dumb Christianity down, we play right into this scheme by becoming vendors of religious goods and services in order to meet peoples pretend needs.

A Godward church will not be intimidated by increasingly being pushed to the margins of society. In the NT and in history, the church has thrived when it was on the margins of society, not eating from the tables of societal power.

Take your place at the margins, get filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and do what John Wesley said- set yourself on fire, go into society and let them watch you burn.

Now would be a good time to educate yourself on how Israel acted in exile... Figure out what the church did when it was rejected in Jerusalem and was told they had no part in their society. What you'll find is that when the church received no preferential treatment or privileged position, God was most sovereign. I think that we are all just spoiled by the assumptions of Christendom. Well, those days are over.

WE have a tendency as evangelicals to understand what we are saved from, and less and understanding of what we're saved for..

In God's design, the church exists for God's mission in the world.

The church I would build would take seriously "equipping the saints" for meaningful ministry. John Wesley is a great example of leading a godly, missional people. He also perfectly blended community and mission. He had very laid-out methods for classes and societies where people learned to be disciples... They are a beautiful example of what it's like being "living stones" (1 Peter 1:4-5).

I sometimes find in pastors that, psychologically, we don't really like leading living stones, because they can be trouble... but the problem is that the alternative is dead stones. You can control them. But there's no life of the Spirit there. Wesley found a way to loose these living stones, making them increasingly mature Christians, so that they became a "sent" community living winsomely and powerfully in the public arena.

So, the church I would build would aim to be a "sent" community, a body of people sent on a mission. And that means that we need to be deeply in the world. Tragically, I'm finding that some of our pastors have it in reverse: they are of the world but are never really in it. We need to ensure that we are neither about marginalization nor worldly and captured by the world's distractions.

Rather, God has called us to be a display- a foretaste- of the reign of God in the midst of the real world. That means that not only do we have a message to announce, but we are actually to embody that message in our daily lives. Thus, we would never conceive of ourselves as local churches “with” a mission program; we need to understand that we are in fact missionary congregations. Emil Brunner said, “Mission is to the church as burning is to fire.”

We must recognize that we are perhaps now in a more difficult cross-cultural situation than some congregations reaching out halfway around the world. The Christian-pagan distinction is every bit as powerful here as anything the church faces in India or Asia. It’s time for us to learn to be missionaries. Mission can never be merely what the church “does.” Mission is who we are. The community of God is, at its most fundamental level, a missionary encounter with every city, suburb, and village in this universe.

The church that I would build would be a community of Christians who believe the Gospel so much that they actually order their lives around it.

Unfortunately, the statistics (from Barna, etc.) I’ve seen suggest there is little difference between the world and Christians when it comes to behaviors such as renting pornographic movies, giving to the poor, or getting divorced. If you’ve seen those stats, they are enormously depressing.

Our hope is to become an alternative community—one in which the world can see that we actually believe in Jesus so much, that we’ve attributed so much intelligence to him, so much worthiness, that we matter-of-factly order our lives around becoming like him. Actually being a peculiar people, a community intentionally living under the reign of God, would be a compelling argument for the Story of God in the world.

The church community I would build would not be denominationally-oriented. I do not think that differing expressions of Christianity are necessarily a bad thing, but four hundred years of denominationalism have been a major driving force in creating the consumer Christians who you now pull your hair out trying to pastor. Choice has been exploited for hundreds of years. In 1800 there were thirty-six denominations in America. Today there are over four hundred. The problem I have with a denominational orientation is that it’s an inward focus derived from a negative reaction to others. As Lesslie Newbigen says, denominationalism ends up being a type of secularism—a group form of privatized religion.

It’s time we re-discover our fundamental unity with the rest of the Body of Christ. I get up every morning not thinking, “Well, I’m not Toronto, I’m not Kansas City, I’m not Hank Hanegraaff or John MacArthur or Bill Hybels or Rick Warren.” That is not my orientation. My orientation is, “Those are my brothers, and they are all doing the very best they know how to do to serve God. We see their errors, they see ours. But they are our brothers.” I say to them, “My orientation is for God and for serving you, and we recognize our fundamental unity long before we recognize our minor differences."


Gordon Fee says, “The Christian community is called to manifest an alternative social order of Spirit-empowered Christlikeness.” The Christian community should, by definition, be counter-cultural without being escapist. Lives of sacrifice, humility, modesty, self-discipline, and preferring others are not always going to be considered normal in popular society. But the church of Jesus needs to challenge the worldly norms around it, not with signs held up that say, “God hates gays!” but with lives of such love and goodness that it defies understanding, doesn’t make sense to the world around, and that causes outsiders to ask, “What is it that causes you to live this way?”

Why did Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years of the church? Over and over again we can see that the first Christians didn’t out-argue pagans—they outlived them. Their relation to the world was proactive instead of reactionary. They simply made Jesus their master, and routinely gave to those who stole from them, loved those who were persecuting them, blessed those who cursed them, lived humbly, and laid down their lives for others. And it was in observing these communities of people that outsiders saw and understood the Gospel. So the communities we want to make in our churches should neither be fear-based, afraid of the dark, immoral world we live in—nor should our churches be merely a “safe harbor.” No, the church belongs out in the very middle of the terrible waves of life. That’s where God is, you know. We should follow him there.

Days of Awe

"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

The "Days of Awe" are the ten days between Rosh Hashana (last Friday) and Yom Kippur (next Monday). That makes tonight's Sabbath special. During these ten days, observant Jewish people greet each other with, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year," because the ten Days of Awe are about repentance, reconciliation, and introspection. It's a time to "do business with God" regarding past sins and start the new year right. It's a time to align and set your trajectory with God for the new year.

I went to Ezra 9:4 this morning:

'Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice."

From the Days of Awe article on the Religion Facts website:

"According to Jewish tradition, it is during the Days of Awe that God decides on each person's fate in the next year. He writes these judgments in "books" on Rosh Hashanah, but they can be changed until the end of Yom Kippur, when the books are sealed."

I believe that your life (path, destiny, destination) can be changed by your actions.

Winged and toothless

I got this idea that the enemy is like a Pteranodon. Pronounced "ter-AN-o-DON." The word means "winged and toothless." They were about 6 feet tall or long, with a wing-span of 25 to 33 feet. They were flying reptiles with a big beak. Being that large, they were no doubt very scary. You can imagine the screech from a creature that big. You can imagine the fear it would stir in you if it suddenly flew over you or your children, the elderly, the weak, or the infirm among you.

The idea I have about these Pteranodon's being like the enemy, and by the enemy I mean the demonic entities, is that the enemy's main strategy is to incite fear and to intimidate. His way is to stop people aligned with God from doing good or exercising their authority. He generally does this through scare tactics and intimidation. Like a little man behind a curtain with a big sound system and projector and smoke machines and weird lights (with mirrors), he is essentially toothless.

If you freeze in fear, he's got you; and if you run, he's accomplished his mission. But if you fight back, you'll find that he's toothless. This big bad wolf really has no weapon to follow through with his threats, if you're willing to stand and face him, spiritual sword and shield in hand.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication."
Letter to the Church in Ephesus by Paul, Chapter 6

Renewal

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:27-31

If you are tired, weary, or burned out; wait on the Lord and renew your strength.
Waiting doesn't just mean to get some rest or to pause from your focuses, but it primarily means to attend to the Lord, just as a waiter does. Waiting is active. Waiters are on their feet most of the time. To wait on God is to pay attention or give your focus. Renewal comes from intentional attentiveness and refocusing on God. Sounds pretty simple, but we need to hear it because we constantly lose focus and lose our way when we are earthly followers of an invisible God who can seem far away. We have to intentionally get into the place between earth and heaven and get renewed.

Remembering where you were brought from intensifies your celebration

And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt.
And you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
Deuteronomy 16:12

God wanted them to remember that they once were slaves. Remembering from where we were taken by God helps us be thankful and humble and generous. We are saved unto good works. God redeems us so that we can in turn act redemptively with God. Part of the statutes that it's talking about are remembering to include the tribal priests, the poor, the widows and the orphans. Inclusivity.

Mary Magdalene



Mary of Magdalene was a regular person, just like you and I, and Jesus changed her life forever. She decided to follow him to such an extent that she was there when Jesus hung on the cross and she was there at the empty tomb. Because of her curiosity and desire to watch over Jesus, she got to be the first one to see him after he rose from the dead and she was sent by him to tell the other guys.

Your story of what Jesus has done for you is a powerful thing and you get to choose how closely you will follow him. And those who follow closer get to have deeper revelations of him, about him.

The church is supposed to be like the Cossaks

Cossack--- the word meaning guerilla or adventurer (or free man)- first came from the Ukrainian Stepps that begin north of the Black sea and the Caucasus Mountians. The orgin of the cossacks can be traced to serfs who fled from the principality of Moscow in the 14th and 15th centuries and established wheat-growing and stock-raising communities in the valleys of the Dnepr, Don and Ural rivers. The individual cossack communities owned land in common. The cossack communities were governed by village assemblies, presided over elected village elders called atamans or hetmans. The chieftain of a region enjoyed great prestige and exercised the authority of a military chieftain in war and of a civil adminstrator in peacetime. Anybody could join the Cossacks, if the Cossacks considered him a worthy warrior (there are parallels in other warrior cultures for example, the Iroquois and some other Indians would accept strangers, even whites, as members of the tribe, if they could prove in quite challenging tests that they were "real men"). There is evidence that Cossacks accepted in their communities Tartars, Germans, Greeks, Turks. There was only one condition believing in Christ.

The rest of this article HERE.

God is always good

". . . neither he nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work . . ." (translation by David Guzik)
John 9:3

Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
Luke 13:4

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
Job 13:15

If when someone dies too early in their life, or when some other suffering is visited upon you, you might be tempted to think it was God's fault and that the event says God is not good, but think again. God is always good. God is not powerless, but God allows things to happen that are not what He wants. We know that God can and does intervene to stop bad things, but often when He does not, there is no perceivable reason that we can find. But, because we do not understand, it does not mean that God is not good. God is good and we don't understand the why.

Estuary

An estuary is where a river and the ocean meet. It is where the tide of the ocean meets the current of the river. The etymological root of estuary is aestus- boiling, passionate fire and arium- place, thing, related to, or connected to.

Finding change


I had just had a conversation about change and when I reached my next destination, a dime and a penny greeted me in the dirt, which I saw when I opened my car's door. What does 11 mean and what does 10 and 1 mean? Eleven means "new beginning" as far as I can tell. Ten is a completion and one is the new.
Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob and Joseph stands for revelation. Watch for or be ready for change and perhaps that change will be a revelation and/or a new beginning is what I would say.

Each One is gifted

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 4:7

Every believer is gifted. Every person's gift counts. Every person should use their gift for the benefit of all. God is infinitely creative and so are his gifting's. We have a culture of consumption and stardom or entertainment, which results is passivity or inactivity as far as exercising or using one's gift(s) given by God.

Restored but unreformed

Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
Ezra 9:4

People's feet can get into a different, new or better place; while their hearts are unchanged.

People can see and experience and believe in God's acts, but not know God's ways.

Someone can be in the crowd or the audience but not be a disciple.

Matthew Henry quote on this verse: "Disbelief of God's all-sufficiency, is at the bottom of the sorry shifts we make to help ourselves. They exposed themselves and their children to the peril of idolatry, that had ruined their church and nation."

Confiscation

They will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Ezekiel 39:10b

I got this idea that God will confiscate what the enemy has stolen or what is does not belong to him.

Cyrus

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing.
Ezra 1:1

God causes His word to be fulfilled through whomever He wishes, sometimes through unlikely sources.

Chick-fil-A: Why are they closed on Sundays?

S. Truett Cathy, is the founder and leader of the compay. He ran a 24-hour coffee shop for 14 years before developing his chicken sandwich chain. True story: Colonel Sanders visited when they were perfecting the chicken sandwich and thought it was delicious, exclaiming that its the "second best chicken", he ever tasted! Chick-Filia is closed on Sunday's. Click here to read about Cathy's Closed on Sunday policy.

Chick-fil-A was named "Best Drive-Thru in America", by g3 Mystery Shopping in 2002.

Once bitten, twice shy

I've met people who have been divorced who are now living with their beloved, refusing to get married once again. I used to enjoy pork chops until I got sick from them. Same thing with shell fish. Ten years ago, I would go swimming in the ocean four to five days a week during the summer, until I had a bad experience with rip tide and was rescued by a lifeguard named James. Once bitten, twice shy.

After hosting a home church that fell apart after less than a year, I was reluctant to start another one; but I eventually did anyway and it fell apart too, but we were blessed during its season. Many people suffer a miscarriage, but go on to have a baby later. Major league batters who hit home runs also strike out.

What I've learned is that I can't let defeats define me and neither would I want successes to.
Caution is fine, but frozen in fear is not good. Many people give up on something they have some passion about whether it's finding love or loving lawn mowing. Perseverance.

Continuous Theater

Teatro Continuo is Italian for "continuous theater" and describes an opera where the action is continuous- no pauses for solos that are almost out of context. Life is this way if we choose to see it. There is always something good happening and God is always at work. Life is paradoxical in that we often are waiting on God or waiting for something to happen. But real waiting is active and filled with dramatic tension. There really is never a dull moment if you are walking with God. It is a discipline to train your eyes and ears to see and hear God working.

Change is good

Moab has been at ease from his youth
and has settled on his dregs;
he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
nor has he gone into exile;
so his taste remains in him,
and his scent is not changed.

Jeremiah 48:11

All the people of God are priests

And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9

This Biblical concept is going to get more play in the months and years ahead because we've been believing a lie, that only the few are called or chosen or ordained to ministry. Actually all are called and this is what the Bible teaches from cover to cover. Whether it is the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. The Lord is not coming back for passive consumers who let others "go and do", but for a people who are an army.

Shall we gather at The River?

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

This hymn was written by Robert Lowry in 1864. He had been witnessing a river of death in his time, caused by a severe epidemic. One day, he was inspired to write this encouraging song in a time of deep discouragement.

Living in the valley

Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
Psalm 23:4

I believe that most of life is lived in the valley and some of life is lived on the mountaintop. I believe that most of life is lived in waiting and some of life is lived in finding out.

Redeemer

God, King of Israel,
your Redeemer, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says:
"I'm first, I'm last, and everything in between.
I'm the only God there is.
Who compares with me?

Isaiah 44:6

The word redeemer means a near relative who could free family members and their property from bondage by paying their debts for them.

Omni-vision


Among the names for God, there is one called "the God who sees me." If you believe in God, then you would probably believe that God sees you. But what the name implies is that God lets you know that he sees you and when God lets you know he sees you, he reveals to you how he sees you and you see yourself and God differently after the encounter.

The person who had such an encounter and named God "the God who sees me" is Hagar, and the story is found in Genesis 16: "The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur." The Hebrew word for "spring" also means "eye." This is the first time that the angel of the Lord visits anyone in scripture. Hagar's vision of Sarai has just changed and she's about to receive new vision from God. This is also the first time in the story of Hagar that anyone has spoken to her: "And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.""

The theophony speaks to her, gets onto the subject of her origin and her destiny. She answers, telling of her distressed flight. The messenger's answer is bad news and good news: The angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of the LORD also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the angel of the LORD said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."

Phyllis Trible's comment on the text is, "Hagar's unbearable past becomes her future; her origin in suffering becomes her destiny in suffering. Second, the messenger promises Hagar innumerable descendants, thereby according her the special status of being the only woman in the Bible that has received such a promise. Beyond her destiny of suffering, then, lies a future of progeny. Third, the messenger confirms Hagar's conceiving."

The messenger specifies the name of the child and its meaning that God has listened to your affliction, but at the same time, sends her back into it and predicts a future of affliction for the boy, with the consolation stamped to his life that God will be listening. Hagar and Ishmael's difficult life is decreed by God with blessing.

Hagar's response is to do something no one else has done, to name God. She says that God has seen her and this is God's name that she gives God. She also remarks that she herself has seen God and lived: "So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered."

Hagar has become the first theologian. She has had an experience and been given a word and she gains an insight. Her life now becomes her life after theophany, forever changed.
___________________
Phillis Trible, "Hagar, Sarah, and their children: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives"; Westminster John Knox Press, 2006; pp. 40-41

Christian environmentalism? Yes!

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,
Refrain:
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!


The literal English translation of the original verse by Saint Francis:

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Psalm 19

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

in excelsis Deo

In the highest, God.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Luke 2:13-14

There is no one and no thing higher than God. This is something to keep in mind when we pray to God or worship God or consider God's ways. God is highest. This fact was not discovered by man, but revealed by heavenly beings for whom this was settled truth.
-------------------------------------------
Update: 11-2-09
I found this from Mary Clark in Marriana Florida today, and I thought it was good.

Excelsior

November 2, 2009

excelsior – higher, always upward

I want you to come up higher, beloved. I want you to see things from My perspective. Do not look at the world through the eyes of the world. Look at things through My eyes; get My perspective, the proper perspective.

I am eager for My beloved to come up higher. I am eager for you to see the things of the world the way that I see them. Do not be duped, beloved. Do not let the enemy dupe you into thinking the way the world thinks. Think as I think. See things clearly, the way I see things, and know true harmony in your heart when you are in sync with the One Who is holy, the One Who is high and lifted up, your eternal Father.

The door

I am the door.
John 10:9

Many people are struggling, hurting, frustrated, and irritated. They are trying to find the way out of something or into something. Jesus is the door to salvation. It's very simple. The way is a person.

God is fully aware of your situation

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Exodus 3:9

Sometimes we need to be encouraged that God knows what we're going through. And God, who is good, who is love, who is justice, and who is the redeemer cares. God really does cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28) and God really does have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Living from the alter and courts of God

"Even as the sparrow finds out (seeks) a house, and the swallow her nest in which she may hatch her young; so I, thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God."
Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.

LORD God All-Powerful,
my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
near your altars;
swallows build nests there
to raise their young.
Psalm 84:3 (Adam Clarke, MSG, CEV)
Psalm 84 is about living from the dwelling place of God. The Psalmist sees God's goodness in the lives of the birds who God cares for. He says that even as the birds make a dwelling place to be completely vulnerable, we also desire to dwell with God in vulnerability.

Tempest

And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.

And look, there was a great earthquake under the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But he himself continued sleeping.
Matthew 8:24 (NKJV, Literal translation by Donald A. Hagner; my NT Teacher at Fuller)

This is the picture. A huge storm, a tempest, arises covering the boat with waves. We have Jesus and his disciples in a boat on the water, but Matthew chooses the words Mega Seismo or huge earthquake to describe what's happening. In other words, it's a great earthquake of waves. Hagner's translation gives the idea that the floor of the sea shook so hard that waves were created that covered the boat on the surface.

The boat was being pummeled with waves, yet Jesus slept on. What's the point here? Should we sleep during the figurative tempest that comes upon us? Yes we can, but we don't have to. Jesus is fully at peace in the storm, so much so that he can get his sleep when he needs it. If you panic, you can be encouraged that he's not. If you are so close to him that the storm does not bother you, that's great too. Whatever your reaction, your faith is being tested. Your faith is not in your faith but in a person.

Drawing near

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8a

You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.
Genesis 45:10

I discovered that Goshen means "drawing near" in ancient Egyptian. The context of Genesis 45 is that Joseph and his brothers have just been reunited and the famine has been going for two years and has five more years to go. Joe's family will be cared for in Egypt near him.

What does it means for God to draw near to you? When God draws near, you get what God has for you. God is full of goodness and is generous. God is kind. God has the answer to all problems.

God is good to you

Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Psalm 34:8a

God is good. That's a settled fact. But, God's goodness is more that a concept: You are meant to experience it.
Walking with God is experiential. Experiencing God's goodness is normal.

What's your sound?

Everyone has a special, different, God-given sound. What's yours? I'm finding mine.

A new day

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
Zechariah 4:10

When the sun rises, it's pretty obvious that a new day has begun. But new beginnings or the very beginnings of a figurative new day are harder to perceive sometimes. God created the season cycles. Four seasons in one year. The Hebrew calender, before our modern one, had months that cycled through the seasons to make a year. Every year we have planting times, dormant times, and harvest times in the vegetable kingdom.

In human terms, in human relations, it's easy to see death and it's easy to see birth; and everything in between preoccupies us most of the time. But the beginning of a life is tiny and subtle, yet it's most important because all of life follows to conception of life.

When God does a new thing with us, we have to make an effort to honor it, because it's so small at first and we can not get a handle on it. It needs gentle, tender nurture.

Meeting: what is it?

Meetings are where people meet. If you went to a meeting, did you meet or get met? I like a meeting where I meet you and you meet me. Meeting is greeting, but substantial meeting is an exchange where you strengthen me and I strengthen you with our words, our stories, our prayers.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
He brews 10:24-25

Belonging and believing

Sometimes people belong before they believe. That's a good thing. Sometimes people believe before they belong. That's just fine. But there are also those who belong but don't believe. Not so good.

sweet sonship

The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:
‘ The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
Ezekiel 18:1-3

The cool thing about this word that is echoed in Jeremiah is that God is saying that generational sin is not the last word. God takes people out of family patterns. God makes you new in Christ. New spiritual DNA that overrules familial DNA. God says, "he's my son", or "she's my daughter"; and those words set your life in place.

reciprocity

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
Matthew 7:12 (MSG)

True spirituality is a do-ing spirituality. You first be and then do because your are being. To say and not do is fraudulent spirituality. Christ followers and not just believers, but doers. You follow, you learn, and you go and do. What is it that you want? Do that for someone else.

new beginnings

Eight is the number of mew beginnings. Ruth is the 8th book in the Bible and I would summarize Ruth as being about new beginnings. It's about redemption. It's about God turning things around for people and it's a love story.

To experience a new beginning, you need to be free of the past. Things need closure. Funerals and all the rituals we do around bereavement are for our healing from the loss.

generous plans

But generous people plan to do what is generous,
and they stand firm in their generosity.
Isaiah 32:08 (NLB)

The generous lifestyle is the way to live. Generosity is a firm foundation that will support you. Jesus said that the one who hears his word and does them is the one who builds his house on the rock that will stand when the storms come. Most translations use the word "noble" here instead of generous. Noble means generous in the Hebrew. This also means that those who are princes or princesses are to be generous.

God planned my inheritance

He chose our inheritance for us.
Psalm 47:4

I believe that God has a plan for each of us and part of that plan is an inheritance for each one. We can come into and receive it or not. We can miss it. We can chase after and pursue things that are not it. We can want what is someone else's inheritance. Each persons God given inheritance is good. One is not better than another. They are all good.

Slaves and workers usually don't get an inheritance. They deserve fair wages and proper treatment, but not an inheritance. Children get an inheritance. You have to be a child, a son a daughter, in the family to find and receive your inheritance.

The fourth watch



I'm thinking about this concept of the fourth watch. There are eight three hour watches that make up the day and each one has it's own significance. Chuck Pierce has a whole book about the watches and this is a one paragraph summation from Chuck on the fourth watch:


The fourth (morning) watch is the time the Lord reveals His glory. there is a breaking of a new day, an ultimate returning of God’s glory to Israel. Even with all of Israel’s problems throughout history, she has a wonderful future as a nation. She is God’s chosen nation of example. One day all nations will face the decision whether or not to align with and reconcile their relationship with Israel - with eternal consequences. On an individual level, this watch also represents the power of resurrection as we watch with the Lord. If you will continue to watch with Him, then you will experience His glory. Your future will be established.

The fourth watch is all about the breaking of a new day. There is a time when we are being prepared for the new thing and then there is a time when the new is beginning.

Grace gifts for Christ-followers

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:7

To each one of us: Everybody gets in the mix. Everyone gets to play. Everyone participates. Everyone is a potential. No one is left out. No one just observes or is passive. Everyone is activated.

Grace was given: Grace is the empowering presence of God. Grace is favor. Grace is a divine token.

According to the measure of Christ's gift: Each one receives through the generosity of Christ (NLT).

If you do a study or read a book or listen to a series or take a class on spiritual gifts, Ephesians 4 will probably be discussed. In my experience, most studies gravitate to the later verses that mention apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, and evangelists. All spiritual gifts are more functions than offices. All believers can prophesy or heal or teach or encourage or give a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or help or even do a miracle. Every believer may not have a gift in the list of five or function in that giftedness, but still be gifted, according to the description in Ephesians 4:7, "to each one grace is given", and that grace is a gift.

Overturning

Overturning: Websters Dictionary:


1: to cause to turn over : upset <overturned the vase>2 a: invalidate , destroy b: reverse 2a <overturn a court ruling>intransitive verb: upset , turn over

One week ago, Purim came up on the Jewish calander. Purim celebrates the huge reversal that came about when the imperial edict to kill all the Jews was reversed and nullified.

Esther 9:1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.

God overturns things. God has the last word. Romans 8:28 tells us that God turns things around and works them out for good. We may not understand but we trust and believe and have peace that passes all understanding and rest.

I've got sunshine

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it's cold outside
I've got the month of May

This has been my song from God this week.

the blessing of forgiveness

A Maskil of David.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Psalm 32:1-2

We're in the season of Lent, which is the 40 day countdown to Easter. This is a good time to begin reflecting on what was accomplished by Christ on the cross. David's words in this psalm are applicable to a meditation on the forgiveness of one's sins. In fact, Paul quotes this psalm in Romans 4, when he's laying out justification by faith.

To have your sins forgiven or covered by God is a blessed thing, a good thing, a positive thing. Adam Clarke provides some good notes on these four aspects of sin described here: transgression, sin, iniquity, and deceit.

Notes:

Adam Clarke:

True blessedness consists in remission of sin, and purification of the heart, 1,2. What the psalmist felt in seeking these blessings, 3-5. How they should be sought, 6,7. The necessity of humility and teachableness, 8,9. The misery of the wicked, 10. The blessedness of the righteous, 11.

NOTES ON PSALM XXXII

The title of this Psalm is significant, ledavid maskil, A Psalm of David, giving instruction, an instructive Psalm; so called by way of eminence, because it is calculated to give the highest instruction relative to the guilt of sin, and the blessedness of pardon and holiness or justification and sanctification. It is supposed to have been composed after David's transgression with Bath-sheba, and subsequently to his obtaining pardon. The Syriac entitles it, "A Psalm of David concerning the sin of Adam, who dared and transgressed; and a prophecy concerning Christ, because through him we are to be delivered from hell." The Arabic says, "David spoke this Psalm prophetically concerning the redemption." The Vulgate, Septuagint, and AEthiopic, are the same in meaning as the Hebrew.

Verse 1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven
In this and the following verse four evils are mentioned: 1. Transgression, pesha. 2. Sin, chataah. 3. Iniquity, avon. 4. Guile, remiyah. The first signifies the passing over a boundary, doing what is prohibited. The second signifies the missing of a mark, not doing what was commanded; but is often taken to express sinfulness, or sin in the future, producing transgression in the life. The third signifies what is turned out of its proper course or situation; any thing morally distorted or perverted. Iniquity, what is contrary to equity or justice. The fourth signifies fraud, deceit, guile, three acts are mentioned: forgiving, covering, and not imputing. 1. TRANSGRESSION, pesha, must be forgiven, nesui, borne away, i.e., by a vicarious sacrifice; for bearing sin, or bearing away sin, always implies this. 2. SIN, chataah, must be covered, kesui, hidden from the sight. It is odious and abominable, and must be put out of sight. 3. INIQUITY, anon, which is perverse or distorted, must not be imputed, lo yachshob, must not be reckoned to his account. 4. GUILE, remiyah, must be annihilated from the soul: In whose spirit there is no GUILE. The man whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is hidden, God having cast it as a millstone into the depths of the sea; whose iniquity and perversion is not reckoned to his account; and whose guile, the deceitful and desperately wicked heart, is annihilated, being emptied of sin and filled with righteousness, is necessarily a happy man.

The old Psalter translates these two verses thus: Blissid qwas wikednes es for gyven, and qwas synnes is hyled (covered.) Blisful man til qwam Lord retted (reckoneth) noght Syn: ne na treson es in his gast (spirit.) In vain does any man look for or expect happiness while the power of sin remains, its guilt unpardoned, and its impurity not purged away. To the person who has got such blessings, we may say as the psalmist said, ashrey, O the blessedness of that man, whose transgression is forgiven!

St. Paul quotes this passage, Romans 4:6,7, to illustrate the doctrine of justification by faith; where see the notes.

6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;

Leading by example

So Aaron drew near to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
Leviticus 9:8

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I have the idea, inspired by the verse above, that a leader should lead by example. Children will follow the example of their parents. There's a disconnect when someone says to do as they say, while they don't do it themselves. The best teachers are also practitioners and not mere theoreticians. Aaron made an offering for himself. He got dirty. He fully participated. If you are going to take others to the cross, you not only need to go there first for yourself; but you need to show and tell how you've been there as you seek to lead others there.

you have no idea

However, as it is written:
"What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
these things God has prepared for those who love him"
1 Corinthians 2:9

This is my word for today. Prepared, is my favorite word here. I constantly hear about my preparation, but God has prepared something too, for me. God's waiting in the future. Tomorrow, next year, and ten years from now.
In 1999, what I have in 2009, was like a dream; I could only barely consciously imagine it. But here I am in 2009 living it. What God has prepared for me in the days, weeks, years and decades ahead is like that- beyond me, better than I can conceive. I'm seeing things and hearing things that were barely in my imagination 10 years ago, but they were clear to God back then. He was preparing them for me. I have no idea what's coming and that's ok, He knows. It's good. It's beyond me. It's Him.

companionship

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

This word reminds me of much God values companionship. I believe that God looks for friends for people and doesn't want anyone to be lonely.

Real hope

"At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.

Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,

yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.

Job 14:7-9

In God there is hope of restoration, of revival. Whatever you have lost, God can bring it back; even dead things. In fact, only lost things can be restored and only dead things can be revived. You can't pretend there wasn't a loss or pretend something is vitally alive that really needs to be brought back to life. There's an aknowledgement that is needed.

what happens when the church meets

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-5

The phrase "stir up" means provoke. People are usually provoked to a point of anger. Here, it's the opposite: a provocation to love and good works. One believer inspires another towards good. The word activation led me to this text.

simple gifts or trophy gifts

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn't everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what's the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need.

1 Corinthians 4:7

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett (1848)
We need to remember that everything we have is a gift. We don't own our next heart beat and we are not entitled to anything. This goes against the cultural ideas we live around.

  • "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." — Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
  • "You can always recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity." — Richard Feynman (1918–1988)
  • "Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify." — Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

Stand against the devil and he will run

Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.
James 4:7b, NCV

How to stand against the devil is spelled out in the words before and after this good advice:
  • So give yourselves completely to God. (4:7a)
  • Come near to God, and God will come near to you.(4:8a)
Moving further back or forward in the text gives even more clarification. The simple answer to bedevilment is more of God. It's true that the text says that you can shout "no" to the devil and he will have to go, but where are your feet planted and where are you pointed towards as you resist?

Barak Obama, the child












I had a dream this morning that Barak Obama, our new president was a child. I was really surprised and astonished at how he managed to look like and sound like a full grown man, when I had seen him many times on television. Yet, when I saw him in person, he was a child. I've been pondering this now since I awoke from the dream and it finally dawned on me that it is a positive picture. Jesus said that you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven: "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.", (Matt. 18:3-4).

My hope and prayer is that President Obama would be childlike towards God. I think that Jesus is saying that we need to approach God as a child, with trust, humilty, dependence, and faith. Children are learners and followers naturally. Children are open. Children don't have preconceptions.

Jeremiah



Some notes on Jeremiah, the Prophet and his writings. His name means, "Jehovah will raise". This reflects the truth that no matter what, God can do it, God will do it. God will raise up what and who he needs raised up. God will raise up voices from unlikely places.

Wikipediea states: "His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and, according to tradition, the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken-hearted book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely unheeded by the people of Israel. God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you"."

Imagine being a true prophet, speaking God's words, but not being believed. God warned him that this would be the case. Thanks for the warning.

Jeremiah lived a very long life, perhaps to age 90, and saw destruction and captivity of his nation. But, when he was young, during the first part of his ministry, he worked with the young King Josiah who was a radical reformer. They worked together for about 18 years, until King Josiah was killed in battle. Unfortunately, the son's of Josiah were not like their dad and undid the reforms and Judah fell back into idolotry and Jeremiah was opposed and persecuted by his own people.

The forecast: rest and quiet, then exuberant singing

The whole earth is at rest and quiet.
They break forth into singing.

Isaiah 14:7

This is part of Isaiah's announcement of how Israel's oppressor, Babylon will fall.
God also gives rest and quiet to the embattled believer. It's a promise of Jesus:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." (Matt. 11:28, MSG)
Things might be exhausting and cacophonous, but that will change.

You've lost that loving feeling

"But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning.”
Revelation 2:4

We can be good people, we can do good things, we can be productive, and we can be knowledgeable. But if we have lost our simple love in which we love back the one who loved us first, it’s all worthless.



Courage

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:6-9

According to Wikipedia, "Courage, also known as bravery, will, intrepidity, and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

In the story of Joshua, God made huge promises to Joshua that he would lead the people into taking the land of promise and that he would be with him as he'd been with Moses. Then God has to tell Joshua to be courageous. He must have needed that because that because of the danger of the task.

From pop-culture, consider that line in the Gilligan's Island song, "if it wasn't for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minow would be lost". In other words, the crew rose to the occasion and did their best at sailing in the storm and saved the lives of all on board. If they were not courageous and froze in fear, the result may have been different.

To encourage to to call up courage in another. The ministry of giving a prophetic word is an encouragement. Whatever form a prophetic word comes in, the result will be encouragement (1 Corinthians 14:3, 31).

At one of king David's low points, it says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord" (1 Samuel 30:6). We have to learn how to go to the well and remember God's love, God's faithfulness, and God's promises and call on our lives.